<< Spruce Railroad Trail Update

01/23/09 - Haiga Rice, Uni and Monkfish Liver

It started with a sale on sea urchin roe at Catalina Offshore Products, and in the typical Kaleberg fashion it went on from there. To start with, we bought four trays of the sea urchin roe and an order of frozen steamed monkfish liver which is also known as ankimo, but this is getting ahead of things. It all really started with some haiga rice we had bought some time ago. That's the haiga rice being soaked in the picture to the right.

Haiga rice is a partially milled short grain rice, so it still has some of its husk or bran. This supposedly makes it a better rice for diabetics, and it also gives it a richer flavor and hearty texture. We followed the recipe from the Seattle Times which involved washing the rice, and then letting the wet rice sit for a half an hour before cooking it. It wasn't at all like brown rice. In fact, it was the best sushi rice we have tasted.

We'll get back to the haiga rice in a minute, but first a word about the ankimo. The monkfish liver we bought was steamed and frozen, but supposedly the product contained nothing besides the liver itself and some salt. It looked like a salami wrapped in plastic. We decided to serve it simply on home cooked potato chips which we had fried in goose fat. We tried a purple potato for a real starchy flavor and a sweet potato for a bit of sweetness.

Ankimo has a subtle flavor. There is a mild livery note, but it is a lot like foie gras and unctuous. We served thin slices of it on our potato chips, which were a perfect complement. The sweet potato chips were best, but the combination was rich and delicious, sort of a foie gras Napoleon. Maybe that is reaching a bit, it was a great combination and we ate most of the ankimo in one sitting.

We decided to eat the sea urchin roe raw, as sushi, rather than cooking it with butter, coriander, scallions, cayenne pepper and lemon. There are sea urchins right here off the coast of Port Angeles, and they are harvested commercially, but you'd be hard pressed to find them on sale locally.

They are sold packed in little wooden boxes like the one shown on the right. Each box has its own little lid so that the boxes can be stacked without the delicate eggs getting crushed.

We spread the haiga rice on sheets of nori, dried seaweed. We cut the big sheet into rectangles, perhaps two inches by four inches and put a few pieces of uni on each. Then, we poured on tad of soy sauce and that was it. Most of the goodness of sushi is in the good ingredients. That's some pickled ginger on the plate with one of our unrolled uni rolls.

Our experiment was successful, and we actually got to use that bag of haiga rice. We'll be watching the member specials at Catalina Offshore Products to see if we can come up with any new ideas. If you are interested at all, you can sign up as a member pretty easily. You don't have to be running a restaurant. Hmm, the mackerel filets look kind of interesting, and we've never tasted geoduck clams. There's still plenty of room at the Kaleberg frontier.

Keywords: fish, recipe, kale